A woman surrounded by research on bariatric surgery

Making the Decision to Pursue Bariatric Surgery

Earlier this year, after trying medications, exercises, various lifestyle/eating techniques, and more, my weight hit an all-time high. After much thought and research, some journaling, and numerous discussions with my primary care provider, I decided to pursue bariatric surgery.

I did not come to this decision easily. It was something that I painstakingly combed over for months before moving forward.

Bariatric surgery and type 2 diabetes

Yes, my diabetes was a factor in this. Yet, plain and simple, I need help. Yes, I want to come off of a lot of medications. Yes, I want to lose weight. The fact of the matter is, the weight just is not coming off. It just keeps packing on.

You see, besides being a diabetic, I am also a cancer survivor. I went through a brutal treatment regimen. I lost a ton of weight during treatment - NOT a weight loss plan I would recommend! Then when I finished treatment, it piled back on. All of it. Then some! Despite my best efforts, it piled on.

Preparing for my bariatric surgery

Now, I am to the point that I am uncomfortable most of the time, so something had to be done. Last week, I met with the bariatric surgeon I was referred to. He was empathetic, warm, and understanding.

Beverage changes

I have 6 months of preparation work to do to meet pre-op and insurance requirements. I have a bunch of appointments set up. I am starting to eat according to the diet I am going to need to strictly follow post-op. I am cutting out all carbonated drinks. I do not drink soda that often, but I love sparkling water. That may be a bit of a challenge.

I also need to cut out caffeine. (YIKES!) There goes my coffee! Guess I'll have to use that up soon! I can consume decaffeinated coffee, but sadly, my favorite Haitian blend is not sold in decaf...at least not in the States! Super sad face on that! My electrolyte beverages will need to be under 5 calories. Most of the mixes I have are, thankfully, as I rely strongly on those as an ostomate.

Clinical prep

  • Requested letter from my physician - check.
  • Psychological exam - scheduled.
  • Bloodwork - orders in hand and will ask the oncology office to draw them at an upcoming visit.
  • EGD - I am due for one plus a colonoscopy and am in the process of scheduling that.
  • Virtual support group meeting - mandatory to attend one before surgery. The request was put in for the invite to be sent to me. So, check.
  • Cardiologist and Sleep Center clearance - both scheduled.

Diet changes

The biggest thing is the meals. I've got to start eating 4-5 small meals per day. Meals need to consist of 25% protein, 25% starch, and 50% non-starchy vegetables. Special attention is needed to restrict the amount of added fat and sugar in my diet. I've been trying to do this anyway, so I hope that will be an easy transition.

Eventually, when I am closer to surgery, I will transition to a high-protein, liquid diet. I will need to utilize approved protein powders I will purchase from the doctor's office. They require patients to purchase these in bulk before the surgery. I guess so they know exactly what you're consuming. I will also need to get a lot of vitamins and supplements in gummy form. Some of my medications may need to be altered or crushed for me to take them.

Let's talk openly about bariatric surgery

There will be many changes to my life in the coming months as I prepare for this next step. If all goes to plan, I will likely have my procedure sometime around the holidays. This path is not for everyone. It will be a permanent lifestyle change for me. I am hoping that it will lead to overall better health. I hope I will gain much more than successful weight loss.

Having been in the type 2 diabetes communities for about a year, this is not a topic that I have seen discussed much despite that it is a topic that many type 2 diabetes patients consider at some point, whether or not they proceed with the decision. I hope that my decision to share this with our community here, openly, will help some people understand the process and understand the struggle.

I have not chosen this path to be skinny. I have chosen this path as an aid in my desire to get healthier. I am fortunate enough to be able to take you down this road with me.

Feel free to ask your questions, and I look forward to sharing more as I go down this path.

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